I’m often asked what my methodological expertise is. Hmmmm, expertise aye…..
Well, I love a randomised controlled trial – the more complex and difficult the better. But I have grown to love systematic reviewing aswell. As funding becomes harder to get, funders are looking more at systematic reviews and meta-analyses (and modelling) to get to grips with what research is already out there.
As with most things I fell into my first systematic review (which was actually a rapid review so not quite as difficult) on alcohol and liver disease. My role was to manage the team and I found the process fascinating. It was all about preparation and organisation.
I am the module leader on a 10 credit MSc module in Systematic Reviewing. The first thing I tell anyone who asks about how to do a systematic review is that it’s important to do get your team around you. You wouldn't do a trial without a statistician and a methodologist, so we shouldn’t do a systematic review without the necessary expertise. I’m sure I could come up with a half-decent search strategy but I know that our Information Specialists can do it much better than me. I could make a half-decent attempt at meta-analysis (I’ve been on a course you know!) but there are statisticians who can do it far better.
|First thing's first: get your team together|
Stay positive, lots of people will tell you horror stories of the process of carrying out a systematic review but that is really not the case. It’s like anything, if you go in negatively you will hate it, but if you are positive you will enjoy it.
Finally, be organised, use Endnote as your management tool and make it your friend, make it work for you.